Parliament approves African rights, democracy charter

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By Alois Vinga

THE National Assembly and Senate have passed a resolution approving the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) which seeks to enhance democracy among member countries.

The approval, granted this past week, feeds into President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s lukeward efforts to restore democracy in a country that has seen continued hostilities between its government and NGO parties.

The process kicked off when President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the Charter at an African Union Summit held in March last year.

The Charter was supposed to be approved by the last Parliament.

Legal watchdog, Veritas lobbied the Speaker of Parliament and the Justice Ministry in order to ensure that the constitutional requirement of Parliamentary approval of the Charter would not be overlooked when the new Parliament had the opportunity.

For the law to become operational, the President has to assent to it.

ACDEG was adopted on 30 January 2007 as the African Union’s main normative instrument to set standards for better governance across the continent.

It came into force in February 2012 after ratification by 15 AU member States.

Its objectives are to enhance the quality of elections in Africa, promote human rights, strengthen the rule of law, improve political, economic and social governance, and address the recurrent issues relating to unconstitutional changes of government in the continent.

The development comes at a time when the country’s previous elections were rejected by the opposition and international observer missions over lack of adherence to basic human rights and transparency which cast doubt on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory.